Stewart’s needs zoning change for expansion plans

ALTAMONT — The Altamont Stewart’s Shop wants to expand. A local property owner and Stewart’s entered a sales contract that could give the store room to grow, but local residents voiced their opposition to the expansion at Tuesday’s Altamont Village Board meeting.

In neighboring New Scotland, rumors have it that the Voorheesville Stewart’s Shop may be moving to the site of Smith’s Tavern. But, officially, the word there is mum.


The Altamont shop is at the intersection of Altamont Boulevard and Main Street; Helderberg Avenue also enters that intersection.

Stewart’s and neighboring property owner Peter Baumann applied to change the zoning of Baumann’s property at 107 and 109 Helderberg Avenue from residential to that of a central business district.

Jennifer Howard, real estate coordinator for Stewart’s, told the village board the expanded shop would be similar to the one at the intersection of routes 146 and 20 in Guilderland.

Altamont village counsel Jason Shaw, of Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna, told The Enterprise that the village board will see what environmental effects the proposed zoning could have, accept a recommendation from the village planning board on the zoning change, and hold a public hearing.

Shaw told the board Tuesday that the decision to agree to consider an application or to refuse to consider it was “discretionary,” meaning that the board was not obligated even to give a reason.

Mayor James Gaughan told the crowd, "I'd be the first one to say I don't want something near my house, but I think we need to go through the process."

“The board did not exercise any opinion,” Gaughan told The Enterprise Wednesday about the project, and has “taken no position on the application at this point, but rather chose to gather more information for future discussion.

“There’s more to come. The board did not close the door” on the project, he said, but agreed to carefully review a proposal, “as we’re required under the law to do.”


“There’s nothing I can comment on at this time,” said Stewart’s spokeswoman Maria D’Amelia about Voorheesville last week.

Stewart’s Shops has a Voorheesville shop at 42 South Main Street, near the American Legion, the Voorheesville Diner, and Village Hall. The location used to have gas pumps but no longer does. The shop, however, is out of the main traffic thoroughfare through Voorheesville on Route 85A.

Smith’s Tavern, at the intersection of Route 85A and Altamont Road, holds a prime spot.

A person answering the phone for Smith’s Tavern last week would not identify himself, and declined to comment.

A related rumor involves the Mobil gas station next door on Route 85A, and whether Stewart’s may be interested in either purchasing the station or installing competing gas pumps if it purchases Smith’s Tavern. The restaurant sits adjacent to the Vly Creek.

“I heard the rumor,” said Zia Rehman, whose family owns the Mobil station. “It’s just a rumor. [Stewart’s Shops] is a chain. It will do what it wants.”

D’Amelia said that she could not comment about whether or not Stewart’s wants to open a second village location or relocate the first.

In addition to its Voorheesville shop, Stewart’s has a store two miles away in the hamlet of New Scotland on Route 85.

“We’re continually, always looking at our shops and ways to serve our customers better,” D’Amelia said.

More Guilderland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.